Shaun Marsh has been set the challenge of replicating his first Test and Big Bash League final form as WA seek the victory that would deliver their first Sheffield Shield final in 15 years.

An outright win over NSW in the match starting today at Manuka Oval would guarantee WA's first appearance in a final since 1998-99.

Marsh and fellow Australian representatives Steve Smith and Nathan Lyon will be in action, with WA coach Justin Langer welcoming the return of the rival Test players as a boost for the national competition.

But Langer said Marsh needed to be at his best for WA to overcome a Blues team far better suited to the slower conditions at Manuka Oval.

NSW lost 6-3 in their dramatic eight-wicket defeat at the WACA Ground last month, but Langer said the Blues would prove to be tougher opponents this week.

Marsh will play an important role for the Warriors, with veterans Marcus North and Adam Voges having outstanding seasons, but the younger members of the top order struggling for impact.

"It would be nice to see him take his first Test and Scorchers final form into this game," Langer said. "He's had a rollercoaster month.

"He played brilliantly in the Big Bash final, then got a hundred for Australia. He is very determined. He has had a taste of it again and we all love the taste of success.

"He is a good West Australian boy who is desperate to see Western Australia do well."

Marsh starred for the Scorchers last month when his unbeaten 63 helped the Twenty20 franchise secure WA cricket's first trophy in a decade.

He was then recalled by Australia for the first time in two years and scored 148 and 44 in the win over South Africa at Centurion before a pair in the second Test saw him dumped from the team.

Marsh is likely to replace his injured brother Mitch in the only change to the WA team.

Smith and Lyon will bolster the NSW line-up at a ground where both teams may find it difficult to claim 20 wickets. But an outright victory is virtually certain given that both teams need to keep final candidates South Australia and Queensland at bay.

Langer identified NSW's long tail as one area his team could exploit.

Wicket-keeper Peter Nevill will bat at No.6 for the Blues, while Lyon, Doug Bollinger and Josh Hazlewood are all genuine No.11 contenders.

"History might say (it's a challenging wicket to get 20 wickets on), but we've got two very good bowling attacks," Langer said.

"It would be nice to see him take his first Test and Scorchers final form into this game.""Warriors coach *Justin Langer *on Shaun Marsh

The West Australian

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